Letter: If Pequot funded, cuts needed elsewhere
Updated 10:10 am, Wednesday, April 17, 2013
I am a resident of Fairfield. Being retired with no school aged children, I am a "net contributor" to the tax base --I pay more tax to the town than I receive value in services. I am considering leaving Fairfield because the disparity between taxes paid and services received continues to grow. To me, the only real way to close the gap is to put serious constraints on spending. I am certainly not proposing that the town can provide me enough services to close the gap.
Focusing on the tax side, I look at the debate concerning the current budget. Serious efforts must be made to rein in education spending. I, like others, feel that the Board of Education is administratively top heavy, but I must admit that I have not studied the education budget line by line. I hope and trust that my elected representatives are paying that kind of attention to detail.
The support payments to Southport's private Pequot Library are an easier focus, however. True, the last minute vote without warning was probably unfair, but in the end was probably correct. I read some interesting letters, editorials and columns in the Fairfield Citizen today.
A former Pequot Library employee hints that perhaps the library should look at itself and see what IT can do to reduce operating expense. The idea that it has inefficient and costly heating and cooling systems, might say that some of problems are impossible to fix. If that is the case, then the town shouldn't be supporting its inefficiency -- there is too much else that needs to be addressed.
I see the president of the library trustees, Mr. Wilson, providing statistics about usage.While I wonder how those numbers are derived and if his figures are correct, I would like to see him get more specific. How many users are from outside Fairfield, not just outside Southport? I don't want my tax dollars supporting an inefficient facility to benefit "out-of-towners." Perhaps Pequot should uncouple itself from the town library system and start charging admission/borrowing/usage fees much like a museum.
Lastly, Pat Hines column and Heather Dean's letter were particularly on point and well balanced. Some sacrifice will be required if we are to keep this town livable, affordable and sustainable. The RTM can't be swayed by emotionalism. I think each member of the RTM owes it to each of their constituents to ask the question of those advocating restoration of the funding to Pequot: "What cuts will we make to replace these cuts?" and "What chance do you think we would have of getting those cuts adopted in face of almost certain consternation of some self-interest group?"
I support the maintenance of the budget at its proposed level or lower. If Pequot funding is restored, then the RTM must make sure that there is a corresponding decrease that can actually be sustained, measured and that is not aimed at reducing needed repairs and maintenance to the infrastructure of the town.